A late game rally by Rainier Beach, the 17th-ranked 3A team in the state, came up short as the Vikings, who were in scoring position at the time, literally fumbled away an opportunity to knock off the 11th-ranked 4A Eastlake Wolves Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
Eastlake stepped in as a last-minute replacement for the game, as Rainier Beach’s scheduled opponent, Foster, was unable to play due to COVID protocols.
Rainier Beach struggled in the first half as it took a while for them to get used to the size and depth of the Wolves.
Eastlake struck first as Jack Peterson scored on a 9-yard run with 8:17 left in the first quarter. The play was set up by a 37-yard reception by Noah Weintraub that gave Eastlake a first down at the Vikings’ 9 yardline.
Rainier Beach struck back as quarterback Chance Gaudiz connected with receiver Jaelin Green on a 24-yard touchdown pass. On the play, Green (6’5”, 180) leaped over the defender to come down with the ball in the endzone. However, Rainier Beach failed to convert on a 2-point PAT and trailed 7-6.
Rainier Beach appeared to dodge a bullet as a holding penalty against the Wolves moved Eastlake back to a 1st and goal from the Rainier Beach 35. However, on the very next play, Eastlake’s Blake Borup scored on a 35-yard touchdown catch, dragging a couple of Viking defenders with him into the endzone, making the score 14-6 in favor of the Wolves.
Rainier Beach was able to get a safety on a strange play that saw an Eastlake defender intercept a pass near the endzone. The defender ran back into the endzone where he was stopped by a Rainier Beach defender for a safety to make the score 14-8.
A botched punt by Rainier Beach late in the first half provided Eastlake with the field position they needed in order to kick a field goal as they went into the half leading 17-8.
In the second half, the Vikings came into their own as they slowed down the Eastlake offensive attack.
Gaudiz got in to a groove as he connected with a few different targets, including Green, to guide his team down the field and set the tone for the Vikings’ offensive attack in the second half. Gaudiz capped off the drive with a one-yard run and after a successful two-point conversion Rainier Beach trailed 17-16 in the third quarter.
With 2:58 left in the game, Rainier Beach’s defense held tough and forced a turnover on downs at the Vikings’ 32 yardline. On the next play, Gaudiz connected with Green on a 32-yard pass to the Eastlake 36. Gaudiz then connected with receiver Shaki Davis on an 8-yard reception with 2:19 left. The Beach Boyz appeared to be in full control as an offsides penalty by Eastlake gave them a first down at the 22 yardline. Nahmeir Robinson carried to ball down to the 19 yardline as the Vikings appeared to be getting in position for a potential game-winning score. However, with 1:25 left in the game, Robinson fumbled the ball and the Wolves recovered it at the 17 yardline to secure with win.
Rainier Beach looks to bounce back next week as they take on Nooksack Valley in the Memorial Classic next Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Pictorial Highlights of Rainier Beach vs Eastlake